Employers have a legal obligation to keep their workplaces safe. When they do not, they can end up with not only citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but could also end up facing personal injury lawsuits from injured employees. If the unsafe workplace led to injuries for others — such as pedestrians or bystanders — this can also equate to a lawsuit against the employer.
What are unsafe work conditions?
What falls under the title of “unsafe work conditions” really runs the gamut and is dependent on the type of workplace. For example, construction site risks are very different from office spaces, but the outcome in terms of a possible lawsuit against the employer may be the same.
To give you an idea, though, here are some examples of unsafe workplace conditions:
- Failure to prevent fall hazards on open-sided floor edges
- Failure to install protective railings more than 4-feet high on loading docks
- Failure to test and inspect lifts
- Lack of adequate training regarding hazardous chemicals
Again, though, while the above examples deal more with construction sites or in warehouses, any place of employment can have unsafe working conditions.
What are the possible repercussions of unsafe work conditions?
For an employer, there are two possible repercussions. One is that OSHA will issue fines. For example, OSHA recently fined an oil and gas equipment manufacturer more than $120,000 following an investigation. In total, 34 safety violations were found at this Alleyton, Texas, worksite. Some of the alleged violations mention unsafe conditions, such as failing to prevent fall hazards on scaffolding and failing to test and inspect lifting devices.
For employees who are hurt on the job, though, legal recourse may also be available. The first step is to seek medical attention for any injuries, but then contact a personal injury attorney right away. This attorney can assist with documentation and representation.